MTN and a Vodafone/Vodacom-led consortium were the only two parties to bid for telecom licences in Ethiopia, according to media reports. Ethiopia is looking to liberalise its telecom sector by offering two new licences and end a monopoly by state-owned telco Ethio Telecom. The government is also looking to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom.
Shameel Joosub, chief executive officer at Vodacom group told the media, “We are submitting a strong tender as the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium led by Safaricom. It is never an easy job to open up a country’s telecom market, yet the Ethiopian government has managed to move forward with a large number of the regulations required for the benefit of 110 million Ethiopians.
“The country’s authorities have also repeatedly committed to create and maintain a level playing field for all, giving us confidence that the next round of regulations will be tackled as soon as possible. Our Global Partnership for Ethiopia has a unique mix of experience and know-how to help transform Ethiopia into a modern digital economy and to positively impact the lives of Ethiopians.”
Earlier this year, Vodafone announced that it will be the leading partner in the consortium through Vodacom of South Africa, in which it is the major shareholder. Reportedly, the consortium is backed by the US government’s International Development Finance Corporation (IFC), which has given a loan of $500 million. Similarly, MTN also revealed that it is backed by China’s Silk Road Fund.